Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 4, 2020

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 4, 2020

Alexander Stephens was sworn-in as Governor of Georgia on November 4, 1882; Stephens had earlier been elected Vice-President of the Confederate States of America.

Howard Carter found an entrance to the tomb of King Tutankhamen on November 4, 1922.

On November 4, 1932 Georgia Governor Richard B. Russell, Jr. campaigned on behalf of Democratic candidate for President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

On November 4, 1980, Republican Ronald Reagan was elected President, winning 489 electoral votes to 49 for incumbent Jimmy Carter.

Note on the electoral map in that clip, states that Reagan won were colored blue, and Georgia was a red state, going for Jimmy Carter.

On November 4, 2008, Barack Obama was elected President, becoming the first African-American elected to the position.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

It’ll take a few days to sort through the election results, but today I want to look at incumbent District Attorney losing or trailing in their reelection bids last night.

First, we’ll see a Special Runoff Election in the Western Judicial Circuit, which serves Clarke and Oconee Counties. From the Athens Banner Herald:

The race for district attorney in the Western Judicial Circuit will come down to a runoff between nonpartisan candidate James Chafin and Democrat Deborah Gonzalez, according to results released by the Georgia Secretary of State’s office.

The runoff is set for Dec. 1 in the judicial circuit that includes Clarke and Oconee counties.

Gonzalez led all candidates with 33,860 votes, gaining nearly 61 percent of the vote in Clarke and about 24 percent in Oconee.

Chafin ended up with 24,187 votes as he outgained all candidates in Oconee with about 60 percent of the vote, but could only muster about 22 percent in Clarke.

Incumbent Augusta Circuit District Attorney Natalie Paine (R) trails her Democratic challenger Jared T. Williams. From the Augusta Chronicle:

With many votes not yet counted in the Augusta Circuit district attorney election, neither Jared Williams nor incumbent Natalie Paine could claim a victory early Wednesday morning.

With all precincts in Richmond, Burke and Columbia counties reporting Tuesday evening, Williams led Paine with 50.4% or 79,429 votes to her 49.6% or 78,134 votes.

However, Columbia Elections Director Nancy Gay said early Wednesday her office had not yet uploaded absentee ballots into the system, leaving an unspecified number missing from vote totals.

State results showed 50,343 votes were included in Columbia County’s vote total Tuesday, including 36,749 advance votes and 4,487 Election Day votes, while Gay said Friday the office had received 60,636 early votes, either in person or by mail.

Richmond County voters cast 56,523 votes for Williams or 66% of the county’s total. In Burke County results, Paine got 5,084 votes to Williams’ 4,482.

Incumbent Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney Jackie Jones (R) appears to have been defeated by independent challenger Keith Higgins. From The Brunswick News:

Across the five-county circuit — made up of Glynn, Camden, Wayne, Jeff Davis and Appling counties — Higgins garnered 45,415 votes to DA Jackie Johnson’s 40,600. Some provisional ballots remain to be counted, but likely will not be enough to flip any local or state elections.

Johnson faced an uphill battle for another term following the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery. Johnson has maintained she handled the case by the book, but Glynn County government officials accused Johnson of advising police not to arrest Arbery’s shooters and using her influence to undermine the Glynn County Police Department.

Incumbents held onto other county positions across the ballot, including the offices of Glynn County tax commissioner and coroner.

From the AJC:

No Democrat had qualified for the race, meaning Johnson was initially without opposition for another four-year term in the Brunswick Judicial Circuit, a southeast Georgia jurisdiction that includes Appling, Camden, Glynn, Jefferson Davis and Wayne counties. Higgins qualified for the ballot after more than 6,500 signatures were verified on his petition.

He only needed 3,526 after a judge cut signature amounts required statewide because of COVID-19.

Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter (R) trails his Democratic opponent, Patsy Austin-Gatson, though some absentee ballots may remain to be counted, according to the AJC.

Gwinnett County is having a tallying issue that affects at least 80,000 absentee by mail ballots.

The ballots are counted in batches, and county spokesperson Joe Sorenson said about 3,200 batches have at least one ballot that can’t be read. The batches contain 50 sheets of paper, but Gwinnett’s ballot takes up two pages. Not every voter returns both pages.

Sorenson said with at least one ballot that can’t be read in each batch, the county’s elections board voted Tuesday night to scan and upload the batches as if each batch had already been checked and the ballot at issue OKed.

The elections board still intends to go back through the batches and check the ballots that can’t be read to see if a voter’s intentions are clear, a process called adjudication. But Sorenson said the decision was made to upload results now with the knowledge that the vote totals would change as they’re looked at more closely.

Cobb County District Attorney Joyette Holmes (R) trails her Democratic opponent, Flynn D. Broady, Jr.

Eastern Judicial Circuit (Chatham County) District Attorney Meg Daly Heap (R) trails her Democratic opponent, Shalena Cook Jones. From the Savannah Morning News:

With absentee ballots remaining to be counted across Chatham County, Democrat Jones garnered 53,181 to take 50.75% of the vote share, while Republican Heap was trailing with 51,614 to take 49.25% of the total.

Heap was the sole Republican in the 2020 Chatham County District Attorney race, vying for a third term. Jones defeated fellow Democrat Zena McClain in the June 9 primary.

In the open seat for Alcovy Judicial Circuit District Attorney, serving Walton and Newton Counties, Republican Randy McGinley beat Democrat Destiny Bryant, according to The Covington News.

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